T HE D ICHOTOMY B ETWEEN C OURTSHIP AND S EX

Abstract

Romantic love could be considered as a collection of activities associated with the acquisition and retention of emotions needed to survive and reproduce. These emotions change the individual’s behavioural strategies in a way that will increase the likelihood of achieving these goals. Love may be defined as an emergent property of an ancient cocktail of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters. It appears that lust, attachment and attraction appear to be distinct but intertwined processes in the brain each mediated by its own neurotransmitters and circuits. These circuits feed on and reinforce each other. Sexual craving is mediated by testosterone and oestrogen and has the amygdala as an important centre. Attraction is mediated by hormones of stress and reward including dopamine, norepinephrine cortisol and the serotinergic system and has the nucleus accumbens the ventral tegmental area as key mediators.

He will not know what all but he do know.And as he errs, doting on Hermia’s eyes.So I, admiring of his qualities.Things base and vile, holding no quantity.Love can transpose to form and dignity.Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste.Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.-William ShakespeareMidsummer Night’s dream (1.1.232-243)

I NTRODUCTION

From an evolutionary perspective romantic love could be considered as a collection of activities associated with the acquisition and retention of emotions needed to survive and reproduce. These emotions change the individual’s behavioral strategies in a way that will increase the likelihood of achieving these goals. The enduring question for science has been that if these evolutionarily determined behaviors have a biologic substrate and correlation with activation of specific brain areas (and hormones)? This review attempts to summarize our current understanding of the neuroendocrinology of romantic love.

A D EFINITION OF L OVE

While poets and philosophers are more adept at defining love, for the purposes of this review, this particular definition seems to be apt: Love is an emergent property of an ancient cocktail of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters.

Despite the intimate intertwining of the sexual drive with courtship, for over 4 decades investigators have suggested that these processes may be distinct but operate in tandem [ Table 1 ]. Human romantic love (hereafter just love) is cross-cultural, universal, and associated with distinct physiologic, psychological, and behavioral traits. Many of these traits are also characteristic of mammalian courtship which includes increased energy, focused attention, obsessive following, affiliative gestures, possessive mate guarding, goal-oriented behavior, and motivation to win a preferred partner.

Table 1

In humans, love often begins when an individual starts to regard another individual as special and unique. This is followed by focused attention, aggrandizement of traits and worth of the object of attention, and minimizing of his or her faults. There is increased ecstasy when things go well, despair when they do not and separation anxiety when apart. Emotional dependence, empathy, sacrifice, and obsessive thinking are common. Sexual desire, intense sexual possessiveness, and mate guarding are present, but the emotional union appears to supersede the craving for sex. Rejection triggers protest and rage, moving into resignation and despair. It has been suggested that love as a preference system is associated with action and conditioning of specific neuroendocrine pathways.

L OVE AS A P RIMORDIAL D RIVE

It has been proposed the love is not primarily an emotion but a motivation system (i.e., a system oriented around the planning and pursuit of a specific want or need) designed to enable suitors to build https://kissbrides.com/fi/blogi/kuinka-kauan-tahan-mennessa-ennen-avioliittoa/ and maintain an intimate relationship with a specific mating partner. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies demonstrate the involvement of areas associated with motivation and goal-oriented behavior in love suggesting that love is a priental human mating drive. Several lines of evidence support this view that love is not an emotion but motivation and are reviewed elsewhere. (8) Love also appears to be stronger than sex drive-those rejected by sexual overtures rarely kill themselves or others. Abandoned lovers sometimes stalk, commit suicide homicide, or fall into clinical depression.